Jeannine Van Eperen, author
Dom thought that the day was the luckiest day of his life, and then he stepped into an elevator.
When Lydia Murley can't sleep and leaves her Chicago hotel room in search of an aspirin, she finds instead a young man bleeding to death in an elevator. Due to her quick thinking, the lad survives, but upon waking from a coma he has no idea who he might be. Detectives Eugene Harlow and Jake Martini check leads and the youth is identified as Dominick Portelli, but the day they believe part of their job is over, fate hands them a surprise.
Lydia opened her door and looked around. The corridor was empty. She hurried to the elevators and pressed the call button. She waited. All the elevators seemed to be stuck on the first floor. She rubbed her temples, fidgeted, and pushed the down button again.
Lydia gave a sigh of relief when an empty elevator finally arrived, and she rode the ten floors straight down.
When she got out at the lobby level, she glanced around, not wanting to be seen by a lot of people with her hair in curlers, no makeup, and in a coat and nightgown. The corridor by the elevators seemed darker than usual, giving her a creepy feeling. Lydia hugged her coat about her protectively, planning to dart to the desk as quickly as possible.
As she flicked her eyes to the side, she noticed a small sliver of light beaming across the white marble floor, and glanced over. Then she noticed a pool of red-brown. She stopped, rooted to the floor, in a moment of panic unable to move. Her eyes rounded with fear.
She saw the fingers and cried out, but softly to herself. She wanted to scream, but nothing came out, just a soft keening “oooh.”
Her heart lurched to a halt; then began thudding as she forced herself to tiptoe closer to the fingers. Just two, making a small slit between the doors, enough to keep the doors from closing and letting out a narrow stream of bright light.
Lydia approached, her heart banging against her chest, her breath coming in gasps, as she peered into that small slice of space.
She cried out.